Women flock to college science courses

Release Date: 4 April 2016

While efforts are being made across the UK to encourage more women into science and even out a disproportionately high number of men in the discipline, D&A College is bucking the national trend with 63½% of science students being female.

science girls article
Male student Bob Taylor (second from left) feels a bit squeezed by female students studying science at D&A College. From left – Laura Stapleton, Carly Bojsa and Zoe Harris are among the girls bucking the national trend when comes to women studying science subjects.

The college runs four discrete courses (all full-time) with nine different streams.

Of these, eight classes have more girl students than guys, only one has boys outnumbering girls – six to five, and that particular stream are university students who attend college for a year, not college students.

At the start of the spring holidays D&A College had 137 people studying science – 87 of them females and the remainder male.

The course with the closest gender split is certificate in applied science where there are nine female students and seven male.

The biggest gender gap is on the HND applied biological science programme where 76½% of the class are female.

Most of the college science courses lead to a university place plus the college deliver Modern Apprentice training to people employed in industry.

Julia Wright, course leader in science at the college, has one theory about why D&A College attracts so many women students into science

“It may be that we deliver mostly chemistry, biology and some maths – no physics or pure maths which are traditionally seen as male-dominated subjects,” opined the lecturer

“So, while our courses do have maths they may seem less off-putting

“Each course has its own entry requirements and applicants who meet these are interviewed, those who perform sufficiently well will be looked on favourably.”

“While we have taken care to ensure that everyone is treated equally we do train students to become STEM Ambassadors through STEMNET an organisation which aims to encourage more people into science, technology, engineering and maths and tries to maintain a gender balance among its volunteers.”